M. Plata-Gryl, G. Boczkaj
Gdansk University of Technology, Chemical Faculty, Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, Gdańsk, PL

NEW METHOD OF ISOLATION OF ASPHALTENES HAVING REPRODUCIBLE PURITY AND SORPTIVE PROPERTIES AS SORBENTS FOR SEPARATION TECHNIQUES


Asphaltenes are a group of substances occurring in petroleum products and characterized by their physicochemical properties. A new, improved and scalable procedure of asphaltene fraction isolation is presented and compared with standard test methods. The new procedure uses 1:40 feedstock to solvent (n-heptane) ratio, filtration through cellulosic thimble and extensive washing in a Soxhlet type extractor. Group type composition and purity of the asphaltene fractions have been examined using thin-layer chromatography with flame-ionization detection. This study revealed that the new procedure provides a higher purity of asphaltene fraction resulting in a more accurate determination of its content in bitumens when comparing to the standard test method. Moreover, an attempt of evaluation of the scale-up possibility of the proposed and standard test methods was made, revealing that new procedure is more scalable than standard test methods. It is possible to obtain large quantities of a high purity asphaltene fraction even on a process scale. This feature is crucial for technical analytics, researchers studying asphaltenes characteristic as well as for other novel applications of asphaltenes such as its use as sorbents in separation techniques.

Acknoledgments: The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Center for Research and Development, Warsaw, Poland – Project LIDER, no. LIDER/036/573/L-5/13/NCBR/2014.

Keywords: asphaltenes, sorbents, stationary phases, precipitation, soxhlet